I've been listening with what you might call
to the voices of women in my realm of associates...
and they've started to sound the same.
I noticed this when we went to take Diana to the MTC
in Provo, Utah
and we stayed with some wonderfully hospitable friends.
We've known them for as long as they've been married,
which is at least 13 years...
When we first met the Darling Mommy, as I will refer to her--
she was a burst of
Her purpose was defined and clear:
to be an excellent mother and wife.
All that she did was to magnify that calling,
and because her babies were little,
she created a world of her own
that full and vibrant,
busy and yet grounded.
She has had more babies since then,
even adopted a couple of children
to love and nourish
with the great abundance of her life.
She has made terriffic sacrifices
and her intentions and purposes
are tangible and honorable.
over the last couple of years
her confidence in who she is and what she is doing
and HOW she is doing it
has taken a turn.
Due in large part,
from what she has shared with me,
a few women in her neighborhood and ward family
that went out of their way
to make her feel "less than"
and put her in a position
defending her Life.
I listened to her lamentations while we were visiting
and I sensed her sorrow,
and looked in earnest for the little light
that I KNOW is still inside of her,
but she is waiting for someone else
to give her permission, almost,
to let it SHINE.
I listened and listened
as she shared the minute details of what
certain young mothers she knows
have weilded against her
in their own insecurities.
And it made me sad.
Noone has the right to make others
feel incompetent or unworthy of praise and appreciation.
And women (immature/damaged women, no matter their age)
can be so very hard on other women
in a way that I don't know that men can do to one another
because women especially seek the approval of other women
in ways men never do of their peers.
We open ourselves up for scrutiny,
evaluation of worth,
in a way,
we almost invite others to judge us,
but inwardly pray that they will be
Kind and Merciful
in their findings.
Women of Faith
and know the need for mercy
They understand the weight of their words
on the souls of others
and mete out their "judgements"
with great prudence,
for we know that we ourselves,
Kindness and Mercy.
I was having my hair done today
by a sweet friend,
with another friend, Nan
and this topic came up again--
that of defending our lives to others...
and I just came to the conclusion
that I am who I am--
doing the best that I know how,
and when I assume the same of others,
my Life is open for more Joy in it.
There is no need to compare
I am just a Woman.
I'm not a Lawyer.
I do not need to defend
my every choice
nor should I ever expect that my dear friends
need defend theirs to me.
We are travelling companions in this
and our efforts are most appreciated
and best applied
when we pause to lift another's burdens,
to share another's celebrations of success on the way.
To do anything else
is such a waste of energy
and mucks up our own legacies.
In other words,
to judge another harshly
isn't worth what it costs;
not worth the damage our ignorant voices cause,
to the listening ears and heart of another,
or to our own souls.
We are not Lawyers,
We are Women.
And there is no better cause in the world
than for women to support one another
simply for the sake of sisterhood.
We can do so much more
with our talents
when they are used to create and inspire
for the benefit of others.
We women soak up criticism so much quicker
than we allow compliments.
Heavens, we do enough damage to ourselves
My challenge to any woman reading these words today
The next time you are paid a compliment,
LET IT SOAK INTO YOUR BONES,
Let it drench your heart.
Absorb all the goodness that is there
and let it fill your being.
I have a hard time with this myself,
so perhaps this is more for me
than anyone else.
But I am going to be better about
accepting compliments and keeping them.
We can all do better
to pat ourselves on the back
for all the good we do.
So just like a kindergarten teacher taught my daughter,
Pat yourself on the back and say outloud,
And the second challenge is like unto it:
"DO unto others as you would have others do unto You."
Give compliments with care,
to the women around you.
We can do so much good.
Use your voices and your hands